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The Capital of Mediocracy

Wherever I travel, it’s always impressive to see that Sweden has an outstanding reputation. The biggest candinavian kingdom is seen as a progressive, feminist or perceived as an environmently friendly country where people are happy to live: I tend to more or less agree on these points, except for the last one. A lot of people asked, how is it like to live there? Here is my, obviously opiniated, short answer: this country, or more precisely, this city is toxic, segregated and unwelcoming.

I’ve lived 2 years in Stockholm and I quickly jumped into the Swedish way of life and more precisely in the Stockholm society & culture. If you are planning to move there, here are several details on the society you might want to know, things I wish I knew before moving, that you won’t probably find anywhere but here.

Competition

I’ve lived in 6 different countries in the past 10 years and I’ve never lived in such a competitive society. Race for domination is everywhere, permanent, regardless of the gender, ethnicity or social group you are part of. There is no collaboration, no discussion possible, everyone will simply try to dominate, control and take advantage of you, constantly, even in love or for little things. Deeply tight with an never satisfied obsession for control, ultra-competition is socially accepted, domination valued. Strong ones dictate and shine, weaks ones stay low and shut up.

It feels like if the Sweds are still fighting for survival, for food and other commodities like it used to be when life was as harsh and cold as it used to be in the past. They kept living in their own buble that now, it’s mostly about their (enormous) ego, to the point that they forgot that life can be fun when you put your ego aside. Making a business deal or an agreement with a friend, a lover is complex, subject to many changes and can take a lot of time because of the fear of loosing: they don’t play to have fun, they play to win. Capitalism found its root in the protestantism, which is loosing ground in Sweden but has shapped the culture for so many years that if you pay attention enough, you quickly realise that everything in Stockholm is business. Love, friendship, absolutely everything is business, driven by the very simple question: what’s in for me, is it a good deal? At any point in time, be aware that a person will only talk to you if she/he has an interest, direct or indirect, in talking to you. Remember that you are not a person, you are simply something they can get advantage from, otherwise you are pointless and not worth of interest.

As extremely opportunistic people, they can be really nice to you one day and your worst ennemy the other day after, depending on their current interest. Social circles groups are sealed, based on your hierarchy in the society : cool kids stay with cool kids in Södermalm, rich kids in Östermalm, poor kids in Kista etc… There is no interaction between social layers, just like the caste system in India, but no one will dare talk about it, just like racism and xenophobia; this status quo is so invisible that some people don’t even realise it, thinking it’s normal. Stockholm society is in complete denial and thinks that Sweden is the most perfect country in the world. Even if you succeed at school, if your parents are first generation of migrants, like Polish for example, then there is a really big chance your first circle of friends will be also in the same situation and not “pure” sweds. If you have been raised in the suburbs then your friends will also be from the suburbs, if you come from Malmö after your studies then your friend in Stockholm will be from Malmö. Simply because Stockholm simply don’t want to mix. They certainly don’t want to help you in knowing the city, the social codes and go higher in the society. Mépris social.

As you might know Swedish are extremely politically correct and therefore they will do their best to avoid open conflicts, often running away from them or are in complete denial. Instead, they prefer bullying, passive aggressive or will simply… ignore you. Remember: the less social interact, especially with new people, the better. So don’t be surprised if your neighbour will try to run away as soon as you get out of your door.

This social competition is undergoing with a lot of rules but you can only perceive a tiny fragment of them if you have never lived in Sweden. Sweds have a tendency to be extremely selfish & individualist so they won’t share much information about the rules. Besides that, it’s so natural for them that they don’t understand what to explain but also don’t want to explain because they would loose the advantage they have on you.

Remember, the rules are made for them and by them, so playing by the rules when you come from a different country means that you will inevitably loose. It will take you years to learn or guess them all because you won’t find a lot of people willing to help you. In this status quo society, everything is at its place where and how it’s supposed to be and shall not changed. Rules are also used to justify and hide unpleasant trait of Swedish society like xenophobia or racism.

Dans les sociétés non -précaires, il suffit de faire pour être. Et donc l’État peut exister puisque l’État peut faire; La personne morale peut exister. Alors la règle, la loi, existe. Dans les sociétés précaires, l’État n’est personne, et donc est moins respecté.

Selfishness & opportunist

People in the street won’t look at you in the eyes, they look at their feet and the only time you might have someone talking to you in a public space is when that person is drunk or forced to do it because you are not respecting a rule. That person feels obliged to correct you and teach you why you are wrong and why he/she is right. Talking to the opposite gender is considered as sexual harassment and talking to same gender means you are a stupid weirdo. Can’t you use Google map like everyone instead of asking for direction? Your phone has no battery? Not my problem, stop wasting my time.

Sweds don’t mix with strangers and the only time they socialise is during fika or predefined mingle session. Fika is a traditional quick break at work and the reason why Sweds are lured and forced to interact to each others is because you get cakes and sweets, for free.

MY TIME

Appearances/Insta/Fake

I’ve met a lot people doing something in order to get attention, not necessary because they like it or have fun. They might endup being passionated but until then it’s just a facade to be cool to eyes of the society and that’s the most important: the image society has of you. Historian are wrong, Narcissus is probably Swedish.

Violence

Independant

Sweds are independant indivduals. It comes with a lot of nice things. Even in couples, there are independants and will always choose what is best for them and not necessary what’s best for the couple. There is no “we” but a sum of two individuality. Me, myself and I.

For example, when two people are dating, as soon as a person is no longer interested, they immediatly stop talking to each others and act if the other never existed. Firstly, it’s not tolerated to show any sign of weakness in the Swedish culture. Secondly, showing or giving the impression that you dominate the situation is the most importantly, as a strong independant person.

Mediocracy

To excel in the eyes of the Swedish society, you have to do things the lagom way : not too much, not too little. Meaning that everything in life is done carefully, they never take big risk : no balls, no problems. As an individual, you are expected to behave like everyone else in order to belong to the group. Difference is not tolorated

Sense of belonging

In psychology, belonging is viewed as a fundamental human need, sustaining our physical and psychological well being. Swedes understand that really well and will take adavantage of this basic human need. Don’t respect the rules and they will immediately turn their back on you, reject you, you will be put aside. You will never uncounter any physical violence in Sweden but silence as violence is there, everywhere.

Xenophobic vs open-minded

Pauvres attirés par la middle class suedoise

Make-up + Chirurgie esthetique feminism

Stiff

Gentrification

We pretend we don’t judge but it’s false, we simply don’t care

Oppressive : parralel between swedish society telling you exactly what to do in any of your move and today covid society telling to wear mask, to keep distance, to not talk to strange but only to your relatives in order to not spread the virus etc.

NON INCLUSIVE SOCIETY

NORTH COREA OF THE POLITICALLY CORRECT => FLAVERLESS LIFE

CONCLUSION

Have remove all the fun of life, to keep the predictable, boring. Stockholm society is extremely toxic and xenophobic.

Funny thing, I talked to different people before moving to stockholm but none could describe me the situation. And I feel the same, like an omertà you feel bad .

The reason, as any cultural behaviour, is probably to the survival Toutes les traditions ont une origine logique, elles ont été à un moment donné en réponse à un contexte donné.